May 29, 2012

The Merchant of Venice (Habima) @ Shakespeare's Globe. Part 2: The Production

Follow-up to The Merchant of Venice (Habima) @ Shakespeare's Globe. Part 1: Outer Frame from The Bardathon

It’s impossible to divorce context from production. Immediately after Dromgoole left the stage, still being applauded for his pre-emptive shutting down of protests, the actors of Habima emerged onto the Globe stage and called for a welcome, whipping the audience immediately into further applause, foot-stamping and cheering. After taking a bow, the actors, dressed as Renaissance-era Italians, donned bright red carnival masks and began singing, dancing and creating a festive atmosphere. This revelry continued as Jacob Cohen’s Shylock entered the stage and, in high spirits, the Christian carnival-makers surrounded him, pushed him to the ground and kicked him mercilessly in the stomach. Only at the point of violence did the crowd fall silent; but how easily the same jubilant ribaldry that had been targeted at Friends of Palestine was co-opted into the abuse of a Jew. Habima usefully pointed up the ease with which we are told what to think and can become implicated in abuse and suppression.

How many, I wonder, noticed the audacity of audience members who could shush a Palestinian protester and laugh at him as he was escorted out of the theatre to calls of “Piss off”; and then turn and nod sagely as a Jewish protester (in the trial scene) was silenced and mocked by Gratiano as he was escorted out? What has been learned from a production so concerned with suppression, if suppression is taking place within the auditorium?

Habima’s fine production of Merchant pulled no punches in its depiction of anti-Semitism, with both Shylock and Tubal manhandled and abused as a matter of course by a group of selfish and wasteful Christians. Alon Ophir’s Antonio, in particular, was sickening. This tyrannical figure refused to sit in Shylock’s chair, decorated with a Star of David, and grabbed the frail, elderly usurer by the throat as he vowed he would abuse him again. Even while trussed up in the trial scene, he leered down at Shylock, a smile of satisfaction playing on his lips as Shylock’s plans were thwarted.

The “bonds” of this production were made literal on two levels. Ropes and pulleys hung all around the set, used initially to demonstrate Portia’s (Hila Feldman) entrapment. Standing on a chair centre-stage, her six suitors gathered around the edges of the stage and held the ends of ropes attached to her corset, positioning her at the centre of a tangled web of controlling attachments. For the trial scene, Antonio was placed on the same chair, but stripped to his waist and clipped to ropes that snaked up the pillars and across the yard, literally strung up by bonds that linked the entire building. Into these same bonds Shylock was later forced, hanging limply amidst the jeering Christians.

The other bonds were physicalised as reams of computer printouts, contracts to be signed by Antonio in the first instance, but also by Bassanio, who was presented with a disturbingly realistic head representing Portia and an enormous wad of contracts, which he began scrutinising instead of kissing her, to her dismay. The focus of the men on letters and contracts was a running theme, revisited at the end as Nir Zelichowski’s Lorenzo failed to look once at Liraz Chamami’s Jessica once he had received news of his (his) good fortune. The massive contracts also became Shylock’s punishment, Gratiano draping them over Shylock and leaving him to stumble, slowly and blindly, offstage following the trial.

The prejudice running throughout the production was not always held up to adequate critique, however. While Portia and Nerissa’s dismissive attitude towards Jessica extended to even forgetting her name, Jessica’s disappearance at the production’s close left unresolved a growing problematisation that remained unclear. The biggest change to the text was the creation of a conflict between Jessica and Lorenzo that saw her threaten to leave him, and was alluded to throughout the ring incident as she screamed at her husband, but I was unclear as to exactly what she was objecting to, and the sadness she showed on hearing of her father’s misfortune was kept upstage and unremarked. Far more problematic was the treatment of the suitors. The establishment of these scenes was entirely amusing, as a team of sycophantic make-up artists and tailors dressed actors up in stereotypical national costume. However, Danny Leshman blacked up as Morocco, covering himself in black make-up which even rubbed off on Portia, to her disgust. The laughter at this was disturbing, and the production didn’t seem to have a point to make here about racism, leaving this problematic device uncriticised and, apparently, amusing to much of the audience. A similar, though less loaded, approach informed Yoav Donat’s appearance as Arragon, moustachioed and screaming “Ole!”

The casket scenes were otherwise amusing. Human actors played the caskets; for Morocco, an actor wore the gold casket on his head and carried the others; while Arragon and Bassanio were both presented with three independent caskets. Morocco removed the gold box from his man’s head to reveal the actor wearing a skull that snapped at his fingers. Arragon unveiled a fool carrying the poem in his mouth; and this fool subsequently sprang up and began mimicking the distraught suitor. The collective mockery of the foreign suitors by the assembled court and the Death/Fool heads fed into the critique of the Christians’ prejudice more broadly, but the cartoon caricatures of Morocco and Arragon stood in problematic contrast to the dignified Shylock.

Cohen, diminutive and quietly spoken, was a victim through and through, only taking command of the stage during the “Hath not a Jew eyes?” speech where he roared defiance at Salarino and Salerio (Leshman and Donat again, interestingly bringing the bodies of the three racially abused victims together) who backed up in shock at the effect of their ribbing. Elsewhere, the performance aimed for pathos. We were privy to his moans on discovering Jessica’s flight, and the production closed with Antonio casting a satisfied look over the abandoned stage and leaving, followed by Cohen emerging and taking a long, slow walk around the edges of the stage in utter silence. Similar pathos was aimed for in Jessica’s performance, as following her flight she was seen repeatedly in tears, ignored or scorned by the Christians.

Despite all of the above, this was for the most part a highly amusing production. The high energy of the Christians was combined with a physical inventiveness, particularly in the representation of gondolas by actors standing in a line and side-stepping in sync while one pretended to row. Tomer Sharon’s Launcelot was extremely entertaining throughout, debating freely with the audience in his first appearance, snogging the disembodied false head of Portia’s counterfeit, and interposing himself inconveniently between Jessica and Lorenzo. Yet he was also the only character who paid Jessica attention; immediately before the interval, he sat downstage with her and they watched together as Antonio pleaded with Shylock for succour.

A group next to me were aghast during the trial scene, crying out as Shylock went to take Antonio’s flesh, which rather spoke to the vulnerability of the strung-up bodies presented. The scene struggled to recover following the interventions from the pit of “Hath not a Palestinian eyes?” and the subsequent jeering of the crowd as more protesters were evicted; and perhaps because of this, the role of Portia and Nerissa, who were kept to one side of the stage, seemed relatively unimportant. I was drawn throughout the scene instead to Aviv Alush’s Gratiano, who moved freely about the stage and mocked Shylock mercilessly, as well as appealing to the Duke and Advocates who stood in the audience galleries. Alush’s overt prejudice throughout the scene, and Shylock’s slow collapse under his assault and the smug glares of Antonio, seemed to be far more important.

Rinat Matatov’s childlike Nerissa (strikingly reminiscent of Shirley Henderson) was a sometimes sullen, sometimes sparkling counterpart to Feldman’s upright Portia throughout. The servant took pleasure in bringing a knee to Gratiano’s groin following his loss of the ring, and in teasing her mistress about Bassanio in earlier scenes. Yet women were sidelined throughout this performance, left rather to punish their fickle men either directly by slapping or indirectly by walking out. Happy endings were denied as the banter and laddish mockery of women and foreigners found no place in Belmont, which demanded maturity. Yet as the men all fell to their rings and letters, devouring material possessions to the exclusion of their wives, it was clear that the selfish nature of these men would resist education.

Have I silenced the protests? Certainly the bulk of the protests were themselves silent, and for much of the first half I and those around me divided our attention between the action on stage and the silent stance of the group in the middle gallery with masking tape over their mouths, who did not reappear for the second half (perhaps removed). The performance of the protest in the pit and galleries drew the attention of all, and the actors themselves were clearly aware of it. Interestingly, however, the content of the protests during the performance was not directed at Habima themselves as far as I could see, concentrating on the broader “Free Palestine” message than challenging Habima’s own complicity in performing to Israeli-only groups in the settlements. By remaining silent and using few words, the protests insteade aimed to draw attention to their act of resistance, attention they maintained (even when rendered inactive) for the entire performance. The final applause of the company lasted a long while, a mutual celebration between audience and actors of the successful completion of the performance. Yet anyone watching carefully, who had listened to a production that spoke eloquently of the silencing of dissenting voices, should have had serious questions about the anger with which the performance’s own dissenters were greeted.

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  1. Duncan

    The man who shouted “piss off” was speaking on behalf of those who subsequently applauded him i.e. the vast majority of those present. He uttered just two succinct words of protest on behalf of the otherwise silent majority of politically uncommitted theatregoers who had turned up to see a play and objected to its disruption.

    29 May 2012, 15:08

  2. Duncan – that may be, but I don’t think it makes it any more attractive a remark. It’s very easy to be that aggressive when you’re in a vast majority, and as the person he was shouting at was already being evicted, it hardly served a useful purpose other than to further disrupt the performance. Gratiano was in an aggrieved majority when he cried “A second Daniel!”

    29 May 2012, 15:12

  3. MTC

    “should have had serious questions about the anger with which the performance’s own dissenters were greeted.”

    To the best of my knowledge this was a theatre production, not a public meeting where the audience is invited to take part in the discussion. Why shouldn’t the audience object to the interruption after having paid good money for the tickets ?

    Are you saying that any member of the public has the right to interrupt any public performance if he/she unilaterally decides that the performers “represent” a country deemed offensive in some way ? So anyone anywhere in the world is entitled to interrupt any performance by a British theatre, orchestra, ballet, etc, if they oppose British policy in Iraq, Afghanistan, Ireland, the Falklands, etc ?

    Are you saying that when watching “Henry V”, the audience should be thinking of the British army in Afghanistan and vocally protesting ?

    29 May 2012, 15:21

  4. MTC – should they not? I’m not interested in determining a right time for protest; what I’m particularly pointing to here is the nature of the reaction to the protesters, and the interesting relationship that this has to what the production was saying.

    Two answers to your second set of points. The first is – why not? Who determines where the “correct” place to protest is? Surely, an event where it would cause disruption is the point.

    Secondly, you’ve been referring in all of your comments so far to the discrepancy between the treatment of this production and the treatment of others, and defying people to find a difference. You should hopefully know, if you’ve been reading the literature, that the protests are directed specifically at this company’s practices; the equivalent in terms of protests against British theatre would be, say, boycotting Propeller’s Henry V because the company had gone to Belfast and performed the play exclusively to Protestants.

    29 May 2012, 15:31

  5. Duncan

    The words he used were at the playful end of the invective scale compared with some of the lexical options available to him.

    But even if we accept that his intervention was just another disruption, it did nevertheless create a pause in which the audience could express their approval of the eviction and thereby support the cast who were the targets of the disruption.

    29 May 2012, 15:45

  6. Duncan – the point I’m trying to make is that the audience is not homogenous, and neither of these disruptions spoke on my behalf. Normally yes, I wouldn’t expect to be in a performance which is disrupted at all; but of the two disruptions we’re talking about here, it was the second that I found more unpleasant and more unnecessary.

    29 May 2012, 16:01

  7. MTC

    “if you’ve been reading the literature, that the protests are directed specifically at this company’s practices”

    That is very amusing. It was simply a convenient reason in this particular case. The same people call for a boycott of every Israeli performance in Britain, regardless of where they have performed. They similarly pressure British artists to boycott Israel, even if they have no intention of performing in the occupied territories. For example, when the IPO appeared at the Proms, the reason for a boycott submitted by the PSC was “the Israeli orchestra showed complicity in whitewashing Israel’s persistent violations of international law and human rights”. The excuse for another protest (sorry, can’t remember which one) was that the group in question received Israeli govt subsidies. Well, if you read today’s Guardian article about Erdogan and the theatres in Turkey, you will see that they are also getting govt subsidies. So I wonder why all these people who are so concerned about injustice didn’t interrupt the performance of the Turkish theatre group because of the occupation of Cyprus with its illegal settlers, the repression of the Kurds and their culture, Armenian genocide denial, etc. (but that’s different)

    Ditto for the Chinese and those Han settlers in Tibet. Aren’t you concerned about all those monks setting themselves on fire? (but that’s different)

    This review wouldn’t bother me so much if you had also politicized your other reviews of the plays in this festival. But different rules seem to apply for Israel. I have read your review of Henry V and it doesn’t surprise me that a play about the British army invading a foreign country without provocation doesn’t immediately generate an association with Afghanistan in your mind. The number of civilians killed in Afghanistan is far greater than the number killed in the I/P conflict.

    But that’s different.

    29 May 2012, 16:03

  8. Duncan

    Now I’ll actually comment on the production!

    What struck me was the way that the “Hath not…” speech was not bracketed off as a particularly special moment in the production. Instead of sounding like an appeal for tolerance for Jews in particular and the oppressed in general, it came across as just part of Shylock’s general invective. His concluding remark about revenge wasn’t a turning point in the rhetoric but a logical result of the tone of the rest of the speech.

    29 May 2012, 16:05

  9. MTC – I review what’s in a performance. Really, do you not consider my review of Propeller’s production politicised? It wasn’t a production that specifically addressed Afghanistan, but I did treat its treatment of nationalism. Similarly, you will note that I didn’t review this production in reference to Palestine, except when Palestine was brought into the conversation by the protesters.

    You will also note that the other productions I’ve reviewed in this Festival have not included productions by Chinese or Turkish companies.

    I’m not reviewing a political situation, I’m covering my own experience. I understand from what you are writing that you have grievances with the Palestinian lobby, and that’s up to you; but I’m talking about what happened in and around a specific event, not a movement.

    29 May 2012, 16:09

  10. Emily

    Whether or not the audience were ‘politically uncommitted’, the production could not transcend the politics of the evening. Was everyone who cheered the man who shouted ‘Piss Off’, ‘politically uncommitted’? I suspect not. The audience certainly have the right to voice their objection to interruptions, but the eagerness to denounce and silence not only those who HAD protested, but also those who were suspected of protesting was concerning to see. The cheers of the majority, the clapping and the whooping were far more powerful (in terms of volume) than the protest.

    Director, Eugenio Barba argues that the theatre has value ‘precisely because it presents its audience, not with solutions, but knots’. The Globe wanted to ‘solve’ the protests by silencing them, but theatre has the potential to be more nuanced – to embrace tensions of politics and culture – and to negotiate within them. Tensions and debate drive theatre, they give it impetus and value.

    I think that it was telling that on an evening when theatre and politics became so tangled, it was the protesters in the audience and not the performers onstage who provided the most knots for spectators to unpick and discuss on their way home.

    29 May 2012, 16:18

  11. MTC

    “I review what’s in a performance.”

    That’s what you did for all other performances, but not for this one.

    “It wasn’t a production that specifically addressed Afghanistan”

    I wasn’t aware that the Merchant of Venice specifically addressed Palestine.

    “the other productions I’ve reviewed in this Festival have not included productions by Chinese or Turkish companies”

    So what made you pick this one ?

    “you will note that I didn’t review this production in reference to Palestine, except when Palestine was brought into the conversation by the protesters”.

    Which is totally irrelevant to the production.

    “but I’m talking about what happened in and around a specific event, not a movement”

    That contradicts your initial statement. And you are writing about a movement and justifying its actions. And no doubt if pro-Afghan protesters had interrupted Henry V you would have been righteously indignant. But of course we will never know because nobody in Britain will interrupt any other performance.

    And that is the point that I am trying to make.

    29 May 2012, 16:24

  12. MTC

    “to embrace tensions of politics and culture – and to negotiate within them. Tensions and debate drive theatre, they give it impetus and value.
    I think that it was telling that on an evening when theatre and politics became so tangled, it was the protesters in the audience and not the performers onstage who provided the most knots for spectators to unpick and discuss on their way home.”

    Very interesting comment. I have been to many plays – in Britain and elsewhere – that dealt with “tensions of politics and culture”. But the audience always managed to be quietly attentive throughout the performance, waiting, as you said, to ” to unpick [the knots] and discuss on their way home”. And no doubt if a minority of the audience in these plays had interrupted the performance, the majority would have vocally and justifiably expressed their displeasure.

    So why do different rules apply yo this play ?

    29 May 2012, 16:31

  13. MTC:
    1) Yes I do. I review disruptions, interval shows, controversies surrounding a particular production, whatever helps create the event. I’ve done that systematically and diligently for all of the productions I’ve reviewed on this blog, and I’m happy to be pulled up on any specifics. Again I reiterate – I review issues if they are raised within the context of the performance. It is the presence of protesters at this one that dictated the focus here; I have not attended other productions in six years of writing this blog where there has been a similar scale of protest; but if there had been (whoever was protesting) I would have covered it.

    2) As I said, the performance didn’t specifically address Palestine. The protesters did. I reviewed those disruptions; as, indeed, I would have reviewed disruptions by the Monster Raving Looney Party had they decided to chip in.

    3) I was asked to review this one as I am a Shakespearean academic who recently published a performance history of The Merchant of Venice in the latest RSC edition, and thus have a specialist professional interest in the play. I am also part of two research collectives of academics who are reviewing all of the productions in the Festival, and as I have a relatively free schedule I said I was happy to be allocated to a production. I was asked to cover this one, as well as Venus and Adonis and a couple of other shows in London and Stratford.

    4) I review what is in a PERFORMANCE, not what is in a production. That includes the outer and inner frames; disruptions, interruptions, whatever happens. That’s a standard practice in performance theory and audience analysis. When the live feed of the Donmar’s production of King Lear broke down mid-broadcast, I wrote about that, even though it wasn’t part of the “production”.

    5) It’s entirely consistent with my initial statement – I am reviewing what took place at a specific performance, a specific event.

    You are looking for inconsistency where there is none. Your primary concern appears to me to be the disproportionate number of Israeli performances that are disrupted as opposed to performances by other groups associated with nations with questionable human rights records. I’ve got no argument with that at all, and I’m always keen to see groups calling for accountability. I don’t organise these protests; but if I’m there and they happen, then of course they’ll be covered.

    29 May 2012, 16:42

  14. Kerry

    Hi Pete,

    Thank you very much for this thoughtful pair of posts. I’m going to see the second performance this evening and am looking forward to it, although I am a bit apprehensive about potential interruptions.

    Although obviously I wasn’t there, I think you draw an excellent parallel between the crowd mocking protesters offstage and the crowd mocking Shylock onstage.

    In general I don’t think protests of artistic events are very effective, because they create a football match sort of mentality, where both sides get self-righteous about their right to protest and their right to enjoy art they’ve paid for without disruption. I think both of these are reasonable and valid, and that creating a situation where they’re pitched against each other isn’t very constructive. I don’t think anyone will have their minds changed about Palestine by attending a disrupted theatre performance, but I agree with you that loud retorts to protesters and that sort of thing can be more disruptive than the actual protests.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing the production, although I’ve heard mostly lukewarm reviews, which is a shame.

    29 May 2012, 16:45

  15. Emily

    MTC – I think what was different here was that the tensions were occurring within theatre, but mainly were present outside of the performance. The production itself, whilst striking, did not create the kind of tension of culture or politics to which I refer.

    That said, the first thing that the audience saw performed onstage was a speech from the artistic director of the Globe telling us to ignore the protests. We weren’t being encouraged to embrace tension, but rather to dismiss it, to diminish it to the fluttering of pigeons’ wings, or the background hum of an aeroplane.

    It is the attempt at the neutralisation and suppression of the protest that I find troubling. Telling someone to ‘shush’ is different from inciting the laughter and ridicule of the crowd. Because of Dominic Dromgoole’s speech, because of the security measures and because of the protests outside the theatre, cheering the ‘throwing-out’ of the protesters had wider implications than simply manifesting a desire to watch the play undisturbed.

    29 May 2012, 17:14

  16. MTC

    Emily -
    With all respect, you are talking nonsense this time. A lot of people paid good money to see a play and a small minority unilaterally decided to disrupt it. They could have demonstrated outside all evening and I totally support their right to do so. Stopping such a demonstration would have constituted “suppression of the protest” and I would agree with you 200% on that. The bottom line is that if anyone had interrupted any other play/concert/movie you attended you wouldn’t be twisting yourself into a pretzel trying to justify it.

    29 May 2012, 17:46

  17. MTC – in the interest of respect, it is not respectful or fair to keep referring to what Emily (or indeed, myself) “would” have done or said in other instances. That’s unevidenced speculation; even I don’t know how I’m going to respond to a given situation until it happens.

    29 May 2012, 17:49

  18. MTC

    1) I’ll take your word on this one :-)
    2) OK
    3) OK. BTW, your reviews are very well written.
    4) OK (same as 2)
    5) Here is where we disagree. You can’t say “review what is in a PERFORMANCE, not what is in a production”, then cherry-pick which aspects of the wider picture you want to address. It’s fine to innocently say, for example, “The protesters did [address Palestine]. I reviewed those disruptions” and then expand on the broader context of certain issues. But then you arbitrarily decide that you can ignore another aspect of the broader context. To put it bluntly, this play deals with anti-semitism in the medieval concept of the Jew perennial scapegoat, the embodiment of evil, etc. The protesters are a group that see “Zionists” as the only evil in the world, otherwise they would be demonstrating against other countries and far greater injustices, which they never do. And that’s my point: you should either ignore the “outer frame” or deal with it in its entirety; don’t ignore the half that makes you uncomfortable.

    29 May 2012, 18:03

  19. MTC

    I apologize if I exaggerated on that point. However, we all have our principles and our limits. Nobody stopped the demonstration outside the theatre, yet I know that if the police had broken up a peaceful pro-Palestinian rally, I would definitely voice my objections. The police don’t have to break up the demonstration in order for me to discover what I would do. Similarly, if you or Emily went to a movie and some loudmouth kept up a steady stream of disruptive comments, I don’t think it is an exaggeration to assume that you would be annoyed and not supportive.

    29 May 2012, 18:14

  20. MDC – agreed, but there’s room there to consider the purpose of the disruption. I have shushed people for talking socially at a theatre; I’ve never stopped a political protest by any group, and as a performance/reception theorist, I find both kinds of disruption fascinating to write about for the way they shape the subjective reviewer’s experience.

    29 May 2012, 18:24

  21. Emily

    MTC – I’m not trying to justify the protest. I’m questioning the manner in which it was dealt with, both by the Globe’s management and the audience.

    Comments on the first part of Pete’s review have highlighted the danger of fetishising the protest without dealing with the reasons for the protest. And that is something that I will leave to those who are better informed about the issues.

    But, speaking as an audience member, and as someone who had a personal reaction to events last night, I felt uncomfortable with the way it unfolded.

    29 May 2012, 18:27

  22. MTC

    “and as a performance/reception theorist, I find both kinds of disruption fascinating to write about for the way they shape the subjective reviewer’s experience.”

    I’m not a theorist; I go to a play to see the play and listen to it. I don’t buy a ticket with the intention of watching a “performance” by the audience.

    29 May 2012, 18:34

  23. MTC (point 22) – of course you’re not and don’t; why should you? That’s how I make a living though, so of course it’s what I do here!

    (point 18.5) – that’s not an unfair complaint, and one always has to make a judgement call about where to cut off one’s discussion; I’m happy to leave that as a point of disagreement. I have no pretensions to impartiality; but I do consider this a fair coverage of the issues I saw and heard raised on the South Bank last night.

    29 May 2012, 18:40

  24. MTC

    just to get in the final word :-) -
    You wrote “What has been learned from a production so concerned with suppression, if suppression is taking place within the auditorium?”. But the protesters are blatantly using suppression as their instrument of protest, and considering the plot of this particular play, it is far more relevant than the “suppression” by the rest of audience.

    30 May 2012, 06:35

  25. Tim Horgan

    Peter- a great review – Everyone was talking about it in the Palestinian “pen” last night.

    If you have not already read it please see the great speech below by Ronnie Kasrils on Israeli Apartheid. Kasrils- white, Jewish, South African, leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe (the military wing of the ANC), and eventually SA mMnister for Intelligence is clear that Israel practices an even more vicious form of apartheid than South Africa ever did.

    30 May 2012, 09:46

  26. Tim Horgan

    Apologies-Ronni this is another link to the Kasril speech on Apartheid

    30 May 2012, 09:51

  27. Pat Viliors

    A reasoned argument, or so I thought… until I saw you have allowed a couple of anti-Semitic links at the end (thinly veiled as anti-Zionist/Israel or pro-Palestinian).

    30 May 2012, 14:24

  28. Pat: I am not moderating the comments thread, and have left all pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian comments/links as they were posted. Do feel free to engage with any of the posted material.

    30 May 2012, 14:43

  29. MTC

    Yes, its unfortunate that people like Tony Greenstein always ruin an intelligent discussion with their irrelevant, boring comments. They have been saying the exact same thing for years wherever they pop up. I guess that saying something original is totally beyond them.

    30 May 2012, 15:30

  30. Edward

    The anniversary of the 7/7/05 London Transport bombings is coming up.

    No Merchant of Venice or Zionists were amongst the attackers.

    30 May 2012, 18:25

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Peter Kirwan is Teaching Associate in Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama at the University of Nottingham and a reviewer of Shakespearean theatre for several academic journals.

The Bardathon is his experimental review blog, covering productions of (or based on) all early modern plays. The aim is to combine immediate reactions with the detail and analysis of the academic review.

Theatre criticism always needs more voices. Please comment with your own views and contributions!

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